• Beyond lessons: Student with cancer inspires New Smyrna Beach teacher's book

    By: Nancy Alvarez

    Updated:

    NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - As Rekia Beverly prepares her classroom at Chisolm Elementary School in New Smyrna Beach, she's getting Mrs. Ashbury ready too.

    “Mrs. Ashbury is a fun-loving teacher and she wants everyone to learn, and not necessarily kids but adults too,” Beverly said. 

    Mrs. Ashbury is the central character of a series of children's books written by Beverly, all based on her experiences as a teacher and students she's met along the way.

    One of those special students was 8-year-old Nathan. He was already a cancer survivor when he entered Beverly's class for kindergarten three years ago.

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    His battle with leukemia inspired "Mrs. Ashbury's Hero," a book about childhood cancer.

    “I just wanted to show him how much he means to me and how brave he is. That's what Mrs. Ashbury's hero is all about,” said Beverly.

    The illustrated version of Rekia Beverly, a teacher in New Smyrna Beach who write children's books. Nathan, a student of hers, fought leukemia, inspiring her to write "Mrs. Ashbury's Hero," a book about childhood cancer.
    The illustrated version of Rekia Beverly, a teacher in New Smyrna Beach who write children's books. Nathan, a student of hers, fought leukemia, inspiring her to write "Mrs. Ashbury's Hero," a book about childhood cancer.
    Nathan, in illustration at left, and in the classroom on the right. His battle with leukemia inspired his teacher to write "Mrs. Ashbury's Hero," a book about childhood cancer.
    Nathan, in illustration at left, and in the classroom on the right. His battle with leukemia inspired his teacher to write "Mrs. Ashbury's Hero," a book about childhood cancer.

    Nathan's mom said the book reflects the connections teachers make beyond lessons.

    With Nathan's story published, Beverly looks forward to finding more inspiration in her classroom for more books in the future.

    She said she wants to tell stories from a teacher’s perspective. 

    “When you're out at the grocery store, they're afraid to come up to you and it's like, no guys, I'm human too, we go through the same things,” Beverly said. “And so, Mrs. Ashbury is all of that. Hopefully for years to come she can share how teachers feel.”

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